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Clinton: Abuse was no excuse for behavior

President Clinton said Wednesday that his childhood was no "bed of roses" but that it was no excuse for bad behavior as an adult.

His wife, campaigning in New York, said she hadn't meant to imply that childhood "abuse" explained away his infidelity.

The president's comments were his first public remarks on Hillary Rodham Clinton's interview in Talk magazine, in which she drew an apparent link between Clinton's Arkansas boyhood and what she described as his "weakness" and lack of self-control as an adult.

"I don't believe that anybody could fairly read the article and think that she was making any excuses for me," Clinton said. "I have not made any excuses for what was inexcusable, and neither has she, believe me."

His comments came in answer to a reporter's question at the close of a Rose Garden appearance on economic themes.

Miss. picks feel-good

nominees for governor

JACKSON, Miss. _ The Democratic lieutenant governor and a Republican former congressman won their gubernatorial primaries after concentrating on feel-good messages that contrasted with the combativeness of outgoing Gov. Kirk Fordice.

Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, 43, and Mike Parker, 49, will face off in November's general election.

Parker who spent 10 years in Congress, was the big surprise by winning the GOP primary. He was expected to be in a runoff. Instead, he won a six-way race with 51 percent of the vote.

Parker and Musgrove, who got 56 percent in the eight-way Democratic race, had dodged negative ads from their rivals. Instead, they spent most of their time playing up their small-town values.

The winner in November will replace Fordice, the first GOP governor in Mississippi since Reconstruction, who is barred from seeking a third term.

Fordice captured more headlines than the candidates in recent weeks when he was caught returning from a French vacation with his girlfriend and threatened to beat up a TV reporter who asked him about it.

Soon, Fordice announced he planned to divorce his wife of 44 years and remarry.

Sentence lengthened for

Malcolm X's grandson

YONKERS, N.Y. _ The grandson of Malcolm X who set a 1997 fire that killed the civil rights leader's widow will spend at least another year in detention for escaping, a judge ruled.

Malcom Shabazz, 14, pleaded guilty to the juvenile equivalent of third-degree escape, a misdemeanor. His sentence, which had been scheduled to end in February, was extended to a year from Tuesday, in effect, a six-month extension.

As before, the sentence can be extended yearly until he is 18.

Shabazz was 12 when he set the fire that killed Betty Shabazz, his grandmother and a civil rights leader herself, in her Yonkers apartment. He was staying with her because his mother said she was having trouble handling him.

Since then he has been in detention, but has run off three times.

Bill would grant fetuses

crime victim status

WASHINGTON _ A House subcommittee approved a bill Wednesday that would recognize an "unborn child" as a person who can be the victim of a crime.

It is the first such measure proposed at the federal level, according to the National Right to Life Committee, which helped draft the legislation.

Under the bill, anyone who intentionally or unintentionally injures or kills an unborn child while committing a federal crime, such as a kidnapping or bank robbery, would be charged with an additional federal offense.

Eleven states have similar laws.

The legislation would amend federal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It would not apply to a voluntary abortion, or acts by a pregnant woman that could affect her fetus.

It defines an unborn child as a "member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."

Federal law does not now treat unborn children the same as the born.

The House Judiciary Committee's constitution panel voted 5-2 for the bill, which moves to the full committee for consideration. Rep. Charles Canady of Lakeland is a key sponsor. The Senate also must consider the legislation.

Opponents criticized the bill as an attempt to undermine Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Neo-Nazi rally, protests

planned Saturday

WASHINGTON _ Police said they are braced for a neo-Nazi rally and counterdemonstrations scheduled Saturday in front of the White House.

U.S. Park Police said Tuesday that they expect about 300 people to participate in the American Nationalist Party-sponsored march along Pennsylvania Avenue to Lafayette Park.

About 500 counterdemonstrators also are expected.

The South Carolina-based white supremacist group received permits for the march, followed by a rally in the park and demonstration afterward in front of the White House.

Police also have issued permits for a counterdemonstration billed as a "vigil against hate" planned by the American Jewish Committee, the NAACP and other civil rights and community groups.